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Georgia Court of Appeals Protects Injured Workers Right to Medical Privacy

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently decided the case of McRae v. Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. In this case, the Court of Appeals refused to force an injured worker to allow an insurance company’s lawyer to talk to the injured worker’s doctor without the injured being present. When we are treated by a doctor, we expect that what we share with the doctor will be kept private and confidential. We do not expect the doctor to be forced to talk about any of our medical conditions with our employers or their insurance companies just because we are injured performing our jobs.

The decision in McRae v. Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. protects Georgia’s long established right to medical privacy which is guaranteed by the Georgia Constitution. It also follows recent decisions made by the Georgia Supreme Court which protected a patient’s right to medical privacy. It is good to know that the medical privacy we expect to have remains protected in Georgia.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the decision of the Georgia Court of Appeals which protected an injured workers’ right to medical privacy was overruled to a large extent by the Georgia Supreme Court.  While the decision of the Georgia Supreme Court in McRae held that the it was not improper to order an injured worker to sign an authorization allowing the injured worker’s doctor to meet with the insurance company’s attorney, the decision did not that the doctor could choose not to meet with the insurance company attorney or could require that the injured worker have the opportunity to be present at any meetings.  Hopefully, doctors will choose to protect their patients’ privacy by not meeting with attorneys for the insurance companies without allowing injured workers or their attorneys to be present.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families. To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

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Jason Perkins

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